HYDERABAD: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has blamed mainstream media for poor coverage of flooding and devastating rains in lower Sindh region with the result that even diplomats were unaware of what people had gone through so far in the province.

He had met diplomats in Karachi on Saturday and they told him that federal government had not made any request to them for helping the rain affectees. Besides, because of poor coverage by mainstream media the diplomats had no idea of the scale of destruction caused by recent heavy rain in Sanghar, Umerkot, Sujawal, Badin and Mirpurkhas, he said.

He was talking to journalists after offering condolence to Makhdoom Mehboobuzzaman, Sindh revenue minister, over death of Makhdoom Aqeeulzaman, son of late Makhdoom Amin Fahim in Hala on Sunday. Makhdoom Aqeel, a government officer, had died in Islamabad on Friday.

‘Diplomats were unaware of post-rain situation because of media’

He said that hardly a few channels covered the rain in lower Sindh in their 24-hour transmission and that too only once or twice. Media did not report the situation the way it had deserved with the result that many did not have any clear idea of the scale of destruction in the wake of recent rainfall in lower Sindh, he said, adding that he wondered whether it was part of a conspiracy.

The chief minister said that federal government had not yet played its role in helping the rain affectees. He had written a letter to the prime minister on Sept 5 in this regard and sent him another letter detailing his meeting with diplomats who wanted intimation of the situation by federal government as well, he said.

He urged the prime minister and foreign minister to approach international aid agencies and seek their assistance as they did in 2010 super floods and 2011 flooding. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and these aid agencies had collectively provided 150,000 tents each in 2010 and 2011, he said.

He said that federal government would always blame Sindh government when it failed to perform and whenever Sindh government and Pakistan Peoples Party talked about rights of the province the federal government would start hurling different allegations on it. The federal government had so far done nothing to help rain victims of lower Sindh, he said.

He said in answer to a question that Asif Ali Zardari had been facing trials in politically motivated cases for years.

Earlier, the chief minister told journalists in Sehwan that local government elections could be held after delimitations for which census figures were necessary. Sindh’s current delimitations were based on 1998 census and it required CCI’s permission to hold new census in Sindh as LG polls could not be held on the basis of 1998 census figures, he said.

He clarified that PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s statement about holding protest against federal government was in the backdrop of centre’s ignorance of recent rain related devastation in Sindh. The PM had also been requested for launching drainage projects in left bank areas of the province in a letter, he said.

Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2020